Stylistics of the English Language 4 Koroteeva Valentina Vladimirovna,
Lexical Stylistics Outline
Task 1: Connotation and Denotation
Connotation Types
Emotive Versus Expressive component
Task 2: Connotation Types (evaluative, emotive, expressive, stylistic, pragmatic, associative, ideological)
Task 2 Analysis
Monosemy and Polysemy
Polysemy and Stylistic Devices
Polysemy and Contextual Meaning
Polysemy: Oppositions of Meanings
Direct and Figurative Meaning
Figurative Meaning - Tropes
Tropes and Figures of Speech
Tropes based on Affinity: Metaphor
Metaphor Types (5)
Metaphor Types
Metaphor Types
Conceptual Metaphor: Examples
Tropes: Simile
Tropes: Personification
Tropes: Antonomasia
Category: englishenglish

Stylistics of the English Language 4. Word

1. Stylistics of the English Language 4 Koroteeva Valentina Vladimirovna, [email protected]

2. Lexical Stylistics Outline

Word and Connotation Types
Word and Polysemy

3. Word

Word Meaning
grammatical meaning
lexical meaning
(noun, verb, adjective)
(logical/nominative meaning)

4. Task 1: Connotation and Denotation

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays
many parts …”
[W.Shakespeare, As you Like It]

5. Connotation Types

Evaluative component (e.g. What a wonderful
Emotive component (e.g. He is full of anger/I
don’t want to see this fool again!)
Expressive component (e.g. He gulped a glass of
water in three seconds)
Stylistic component (e.g. Your father is a nice
Pragmatic (sweetheart)/ Associative (to
excavate/a tomb) / Ideological components (the
poor= the less successful)

6. Emotive Versus Expressive component

EMOTIVE connotation
always entails expressiveness but not vice versa
depicts a temporary sensation – joy, fright, anger,
surprise, annoyance
is syntactically optional (for example it is always
possible to omit interjections without any violation
of syntactic structure),
only one emotional word in a sentence is able to
eradiate and confer emotionality on the whole
EXPRESSIVE connotation
is conveyed via intensifiers (really, quite,
frightfully, absolutely)
suggests additional semantic component to the
denotative meaning of the word (to work – to toil,
to drink –to gulp, to chew- to chomp).

7. Task 2: Connotation Types (evaluative, emotive, expressive, stylistic, pragmatic, associative, ideological)

‘No matter where life takes me, find me with a smile
Pursuit to be happy, only laughing like a child
I never thought life would be this sweet
It got me cheesin' from cheek to cheek
And I ain't going to wait for nothing
Cause that just ain't my style
Life couldn't get better
This 'gon be the best day ever ’
[Mac Miller, song – Best Day Ever ]

8. Task 2 Analysis

The denotative component of the nonce expression - cheesing
from cheek to cheek is “smiling widely form ear to ear”
There are several connotations distinguished:
Emotive – it is humorous (play on words: ‘say cheese’,
‘to grin from ear to ear’ are regular expressions, in this
context the author creates a new one– ‘to cheese from
cheek to cheek’)
Evaluative – it is positive (a shade of approval)
Expressive – it is unexpected (“cheesing” has got its
neutral counterpart in literary lexis – ‘to smile’)
Pragmatic – it is based on a cliché ‘say cheese’ so
intended for the audience with a particular cultural
background, also meant to amuse
Associative – it evokes the idea of photographing
Stylistic – it is low colloquial

9. Monosemy and Polysemy

When a word has only one meaning it is
called monosemic:
"Monosemy is probably most clearly found in
specialized vocabulary dealing with technical
topics." [The Handbook of Linguistics by William Croft, 2003]
Polysemy is a linguistic phenomenon
when we observe one word have two or
more meanings:
“semantic changes often add meanings to the
language without subtracting any.” [M. Lynne
Murphy,Lexical Meaning, 2010]

10. Polysemy and Stylistic Devices

Quite a few of stylistic devices are
based on polysemy, for example,
zeugma and pun draw upon the
difference in meaning:
“…Dora, plunging at once into privileged
intimacy and into the middle of the room.”
[B.Shaw] (to plunge= 1) to throw oneself
into; dash; 2) to devote oneself to)
“The tallest building in town is the library —
it has thousands of stories! ” (story=1) a
piece of fiction; 2) a floor)

11. Polysemy and Contextual Meaning

contextual meaning is brought about by a
specific context which emphasises certain
semantic traits of a word suppressing some
other ones:
“It was an idyllic day; sunny, warm and perfect for
a walk in the park.”
direct meaning: idyllic=1) of or relating to an idyll;
2) picturesque
contextual meaning: idyllic=relating to a period of
good weather

12. Polysemy: Oppositions of Meanings

direct and derived/figurative:
nightingale – a bird and a singer
generalised and specific: in flower – a
usual and occasional: blue sky-angry
ordinary and terminological: enduring
values – numerical value
neutral and stylistically marked: old coat
– old boy
contemporary and obsolete: to stone the
rats - she stoned, closing her heart to

13. Direct and Figurative Meaning

direct meaning names an object and can be
realised outside of any context:
My Watch by M.Twain
figurative meaning, besides naming, describes
and characterises some object via its similarity
or other connection with another object:
She was a dynamo of activity. She was here, there
and everywhere… [Monica Dickens, One Pair of Feet]
Dynamo=1) a device for converting mechanical energy
into electrical energy, 2) infl an energetic hard-working

14. Figurative Meaning - Tropes

any literary or rhetorical device that
consists in the use of words in other
than their literal sense
a word, phrase, or image used in a new
and different way in order to create an
artistic effect

15. Tropes and Figures of Speech

based on comparison (affinity):
based on contiguity (proximity):
based on opposition:
based on understatement:
based on overstatement:

16. Tropes based on Affinity: Metaphor

a transfer of the meaning on the basis of
comparison (affinity):
“Guiseppe Martini said that "Family is the
Country of the Heart". We spend so much of
our lives in exile, but on the holidays we make
the pilgrimage home to the nation of our
heart. Wherever that may be.”[Being Erica, S03E13]
Family is likened to a country, a big space, where our most
personal, dear thoughts and actions take place.

17. Metaphor Types (5)

1) simple/ authentic metaphor:
“Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines”
[W.Shakespeare] (eye of heaven=sun)
2) trite/ dead/ hackneyed metaphor :
the mouth of a river, snow white dress, coral lips

18. Metaphor Types

3) sustained/ extended metaphor :
“He began to be frightfully jealous of everything about
Clara: of her past, of her babies, of the men and
women who flocked to drink deep of her cool
kindness and rest their tired minds as at an
absorbing play.” [F.S.Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise, p.137]
4) mixed metaphor – a combination of metaphors
which seems incongruous producing a strange
image in the mind, often having a humorous effect:
“The new job has allowed her to spread her wings and
really blossom.” [Cambridge Dictionary]

19. Metaphor Types

5) conceptual metaphor, or cognitive metaphor,
refers to the understanding of one idea, or
conceptual domain, in terms of another
systematically both in language and in thought.
***The regularity with which different languages employ the
same metaphors, which often appear to be perceptually
based, has led to the hypothesis that the mapping between
conceptual domains corresponds to neural mappings in the

20. Conceptual Metaphor: Examples

Without direction in life/ a path of life/ “I
couldn’t stop for Death”/ I am where I
want to be in life/ I’m at crossroads in
my life
He won that argument/ I attacked
every weak point in his speech/ She
completely destroyed me at the

21. Metaphor

can be based on different types of
similarity of shape: head (of a cabbage),
bottleneck, teeth (of a saw, a comb)
similarity of position: foot (of a page, of a
mountain), head (of procession)
similarity of function, behaviour: a bookworm
(a person who is fond of books), a whip (an
official in the British Parliament whose duty is
to see that members were present at the
similarity of colour: orange, hazel, chestnut

22. Tropes: Simile

figure of speech that makes a
comparison, showing similarities between
two different things, producing a vivid
image. Unlike a metaphor, a simile draws
resemblance with the help of the words
“like” or “as”:
“…it was so dark that Amory could just
make out a patch of damp hair and two
eyes that gleamed like a cat’s.” [F.S.Fitzgerald,
This Side of Paradise, p.215]

23. Tropes: Personification

a trope in which human qualities or abilities are
assigned to abstractions or inanimate objects:
“The daffodils under the boat-house continued
their golden laughter, and nodded to one
another in gossip, as I watched them, never for
a moment pausing to notice me.”
[D.H.Lawrence, The White Peacock (1911)]
depersonification* - giving a human the qualities of an
inanimate or non-living object; usually related to
lowering the tone of the narrative

24. Allusion

a reference to a famous historical,
literary, mythological or biblical
character or event, commonly
“It’s his Achilles heel!” (myth of

25. Tropes: Antonomasia

a literary term in which a descriptive
phrase replaces a person’s name, or a
proper name is used as a common one:
“Oh, look! The “movie star” has finally
“He’s such a good guy. I enjoy his company so
much! I just hope he’s Mr. Right.”
“He is a real Don Juan!”
“Forget Mr.Right. Give Mr.Right-here a chance”
– [Canadian series “Being Erica”]


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